Ring in the Year of the Rat in style with tons of DMV Lunar New Year magic. Rats usually warrant a call to the exterminator, but not when it’s time to usher in a new decade. Vitality is the word for 2020, so why not start the year with fantastical celebrations full of energy and family fun. Keep scrolling to fill up your new year calendar with all the festivities.
photo: Pascal Bernardon via Unsplash
It’s all about the dragons, baby. Celebrated each year by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, it’s the annual Chinatown parade that has all the tradition as well as diversity. Think live music, parades, kung fu, beauty pageants and more. Get there early for the best view. Then head over to the Chinatown Cultural Center for more family fun.
When: Jan. 26, 2 p.m.
Where: 6th and Eye St. NW
Celebrate the REACH’s first winter season and Chinese New Year with weeks of family fun including a gorgeous new lantern installation. 10,000 twinkling lights will make for a magical experience. Don’t miss out on a Grammy-winning performance by Tang Muhai and the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra. Before you head home, grab a snack from one of the local food trucks.
When: Jan. 22–Feb. 2
Where: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St. NW
Kick-off your Saturday with this fun-filled family event sponsored by the Kennedy Center. Full of free activities that all ages can enjoy, it is a great way to celebrate Chinese culture with sugar painting demonstrations, red lantern making and marionette puppets.
When: Jan. 25, 1:30–4:30 p.m.
Where: REACH, 2700 F St.NW
photo: Pacific Asia Museum
This Smithsonian museum is known for an impressive collection of Asian art. Usher in the Year of the Rat with live music, acrobatics, puppets and some yummy bites. Stick around for the stunning Chinese art displays.
When: Jan. 26, 11 a.m.–5 p.m
Where: The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Ave. SW
Check out the fun as Falls Church hosts a day filled with games, art booths, a dragon parade, children’s crafts, food and live Asian performances that preschool peeps on up will enjoy. Each kiddo receives a red envelope of “lucky money” and any little one wearing Asian attire can join in the Dragon Parade at 2 p.m. that day.
When: Jan. 25 (Snow Date, Feb. 8), 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Luther Jackson Middle School
3020 Gallows Rd. Falls Church, VA
In partnership with Rockville’s Asian Pacific American Task Force, this Lunar New Year Celebration brings out both community pride and educational moments for little ones. This free event offers Lunar New Year-themed crafts, interactive moments and many performances sure to delight pint-sized kiddos. Be there by 1:30 p.m. for the performances.
When: Feb. 1, 1-3:30 p.m.
Where: Rockville High School
2100 Baltimore Rd., Rockville, MD
Head down to Chinatown and cheer on the home team at one of many winter home games. Snag tickets on Jan. 30 and the whole family can check out the team’s cool Chinese New Year jerseys. Who knows? The fans in the stands may even throw in a dragon-style wave to lead the Wizards to victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
When: Jan. & Feb. 2020
Where: Capital One Arena, 601 F St. NW
photo: Tony Hisgett via Flickr
In town for the parade, stop by the Xfinity store downtown to celebrate the Year of the Rat. Your tiny dragons can gather round for storytelling, paper folding fun and tons of family fun. The whole family can dig into the popcorn and candy to top off a great day.
When: Jan. 26, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: 715 7th St. NW
photo: Fair Oaks Mall
Visit the Grand Court for free family-friendly performances. Join in on a traditional Chinese Dragon dance or try your hand at Chinese knotting. Do you have a little martial artist at home? Don’t miss the martial arts demonstration. Top off the new year celebration with the special lantern festival.
When: Jan. 25-26, 1-5 p.m.
Where: Fair Oaks Mall, 11750 Fair Oaks Mall Fairfax, VA
Children of all ages will love this festival full of early evening finger painting and shadow puppetry. Young and old alike will tap their toes to the lion dance accompanied by a string quartet. Before the concert begins, be sure to check out the short film on the Chinese New Year. Little artists can take home their very own dragon dough model.
When: Jan. 28, 5:30-9:30 p.m
Where: Maryland Hall, 801 Chase St. Annapolis, MD
—Angelica Kajiwara and Victoria Mason
featured photo: DC Parade